Japan’s Himeji Castle has reopened after a US $19.9 million restoration project, with a technological update that gives visitors a glimpse into the nation’s feudal era.
The structure, one of 12 such remaining castles, will now offer an augmented reality service that projects CGI images of 17th century life through a smartphone and tablet app.
Visitors who place their devices in certain locations can witness various scenes, such as warriors rushing to don their armour or a historic cityscape. The castle’s main gate and turret structures also have augmented reality viewing spots.
In terms of the structure itself, around 16,000 of the 75,000 roof tiles of the castle’s main keep were replaced. The white plaster walls were also repainted and the building has been strengthened to give added resistance to earthquakes.
Located in the Hyogo Prefecture, the 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site will limit daily visitors to 15,000.
"Himeji-jo is a masterpiece of wooden construction, the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, and preserves all its significant features intact. The castle is also a powerful and evocative symbol of the feudalism that prevailed in Japan until the Meiji restoration of 1868," reads an excerpt from the official UNESCO website entry.
"Himeji-jo is an archetypal early 17th-century castle complex in design and layout, comprising 83 buildings in all. Only the east gate of one section of the second bailey survives from the castle built by Hideyoshi; the remainder dates from 1601-9, plus the towers of Nishi-no-Maru (after 1617)."